I’ve just pulled my t-shirt up from my waist to look at my stomach. A stomach that has thirty pounds too much fat for my own good. I was skinny as a kid but the three meals a day lifestyle starting more than forty years ago with my first marriage has keep me looking like a watermelon ever since. Not that I went hungry before then. My mother was a good cook. Still could be, I guess, but she lives in a nursing home where one of the perks is, she doesn’t have to cook now.
Patting my stomach, I think about the left side of it. Three weeks from today, a surgeon will take a good sharp, I presume, scalpel and begin slicing through that fat. Once through the thick layer of blubber, the skilled doctor will continue slicing through the muscle beneath to get to the thick rubbery section of my colon where, I was informed four months ago, a small bit of cancer resides. By then I will be like the afore mentioned watermelon, pulled open to remove a section of that bowel and presumably all of the cancer with it.
With all good luck, I will be totally unconscious at that point, so any unexpected findings will be the doctor’s problem, and I will be blissfully unaware of it or them until I wake after the operation.
Am I afraid? Damn straight I am! The good surgeon assures me that the operation is about as routine as they come. For him maybe—for me, no. It’ll be the most invasive thing I have ever encountered. At age sixty-six, I guess that’s doing pretty well. (Or should that be ‘pretty good?’ I just checked with Strunk and White but would you believe they don’t say?)
So I try to keep my mind off the operation. Which probably makes you, good reader, wonder why I am spilling my guts—oh, what a poor choice of words—in this missive. What do I fear? Well, to start with, waking in more pain than I have ever endured before. I don’t know how it will compare to bouts of gout or shingles I have lived through. They were quite painful. But I assume that the hospital staff will dope me enough to stave off the worst of the pain until I can exist without them, pain killers, that is.